House of Lords written question – answered on 17th July 2000.

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Photo of Lord Jenkins of Putney Lord Jenkins of Putney Labour

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What discussions were held prior to the reported decision to launch a fourth Trident submarine later this year and whether this decision would be consistent with their policy on nuclear disarmament.

Photo of Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean Minister of State (Defence Procurement), Ministry of Defence

In the Strategic Defence Review we rigorously re-examined our nuclear deterrence requirements. The review was made as open as possible to outside views. One factor of many that we considered was the size of our Trident submarine fleet. We concluded that we need a fleet of four Trident submarines to ensure that our minimum deterrent remains effective. The review also reported the planned launch of HMS "Vengeance", our fourth Trident submarine. She was launched on 19 September 1998; it is planned that she will enter service next year.

At the 2000 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, the nuclear weapon states gave an unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals--the most explicit pledge ever to work for global nuclear disarmament. The Government have clearly demonstrated their commitment to further international progress on non-proliferation and disarmament; the constructive role we played at the conference has been widely recognised and welcomed, as has been the contribution we have already made by reducing our deterrence posture to the levels announced in the Strategic Defence Review.

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